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I’m betting that nearly everything you’ve ever read about lead development made reference to growing a garden. There’s always plenty of “drip marketing” and “lead nurturing” and “cultivating better results.” So, to spare you more of the same, I’m going to leave the garden out of this article and get down to the dirt. Fostering and nurturing leads is an essential activity for every channel partner. Your Brand may pass you leads, but they rarely pass you sales. As the channel partner, it’s up to you to turn leads into opportunities and then into sales. I’ve assembled some of the best organic tips surrounding fostering leads that I’ve learned during my tenure as a marketer.
- A sale is not your goal
Wait, what? Really. The goal of marketing is not to hand Sales a sale, it’s to hand Sales an engaged, qualified lead. We want these folks to understand what you do, how you do it, and why you do it better. That takes (at least) good marketing content, teamwork, plenty of creativity, some persistence, and the right technology tools. It’s crucial to keep this in mind throughout the lead nurturing cycle as it will improve your tone and your messaging.
- Open the gate
Consider unlocking more content. Many channel partners gate precious content to secure an email address to add to their marketing lists. Sure, it can work for this, but adding to your list isn’t your goal either. And honestly, potential leads hate gates. Making content easier to access puts more eyes on it. And if it’s good content, you’re building your reputation as a subject matter expert along the way. Engaged prospects will remember you and ask to join your lists.
- Make it multi-channel
This is rule number one (actually, in this list it’s number 3, but it’s very important). Share your marketing efforts across multiple channels. Share your blog, case studies, white papers, infographics, webinars and videos via social media. Reference and link to that content elsewhere. Syndicate content from your Brand and share it across your own channels.
- Follow it through
44% of salespeople give up after just one attempt. Come on, really? And only 8% of salespeople follow-up more than five times. This is definitely bad for business, as 80% of sales require a minimum of five contacts. So, if you do only one thing in marketing, make it following up. A call, an email, a webinar invite, a warm response to a social media post — all can be effective ways to keep the conversation open. Just. Follow. Through.
- Timing is everything
There’s an old B2B marketing adage that goes, “Businesses only spend money to solve problems.” It’s as true today as it was back then. Unlike consumers, businesses don’t spend money to make them feel good (sorry, Starbucks). This means that for B2B marketing, timing is everything. You have to get your name in front of decision makers when they’re feeling the pain of their problem. Since you obviously can’t know precisely when that is, you have to get your name in front of them regularly — so that your message drops into their inbox just as the hurt is happening. So, timing is everything. Nurture your leads regularly – but not too much (see #6).
- Be politely persistent – but persistent nonetheless
Congratulations! You’ve been invited into someone’s email box. They’ve given you permission to talk to them, but not every day, or even every other day. Nothing makes a prospect unsubscribe faster than being inundated with what they perceive as irrelevant marketing messages. So, you must be polite, but you are allowed to be politely persistent (see #4). Keep the marketing communications flowing until a) they buy what you’re selling, or b) they tell you to stop. Check out this post on maintaining a clean CRM to ensure you’re being politely persistent.
Marketing teams wear many hats. From content development to lead gen, we’re all busy. But don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal — which is to keep the leads flowing to your Sales teams. Hope these tips can help.
Join me next time when I’ll share some ideas on how to make the most of your marketing data and reports. Until then #HappyMarketing!